So ever heard that thing: the more valuable or vulnerable = the more income or outcome. Thing is getting vulnerable and sharing more personal or sensitive things when done right, is not about encouraging voyeurism, it’s about connection, it’s about shifting paradigms, it’s about teaching, it’s about inspiring, it’s about being an agent of change… and that’s what I talk about on this episode of The Content Download.
I can’t wait for you to hear it,
Big Love, Cate
HOW TO LISTEN
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Hey! Welcome to the content download. Cate here. And in today’s episode I want to talk about vulnerability. It’s a hot topic in content and communications and for good reason because the more vulnerable you allow yourself to be the more impact your content is going to have on your audience.
But it’s not easy.
And so today I want to share a lesson I learnt earlier this year about vulnerability. Now this is something that’s been a real journey for me. Because even though I’ve been a writer for many years, sharing my story, and my ideas is not something that I was doing often publicly and it was a hard habit to break to suddenly show up and be more vulnerable and lots of alarm bells have always rung for me with the whole vulnerability thing. Is this attention seeking, is this oversharing, is this appropriate.
And yet I know that when people share vulnerably it can be a huge teaching moment for your audience.
So it’s journey for all of us. Even those of us who are professional communicators, writers whatever.
And today I want share with you a new perspective I got on the whole idea of vulnerably in your content and how motivation – your true motivation can make all the difference.
So last summer night as I lay in bed flicking through photographs of my kids at the beach yesterday, I had a sudden urge to write, so I selected a gorgeous photo of my 6 year old daughter, wrote an IG caption, hashtagged it, posted it, then turned out the light.
And then I couldn’t sleep.
As I lay there in the dark, I could feel a little knot of anxiety rising in my stomach.
And a whole cocktail of negative, nauseating feelings flood through me.
Oh my god, what had I done? I needed to delete that post.
But as I hovered over the edit menu I couldn’t do it. I loved that caption. It had been truly written from the heart. There was also an important message behind it, one I have always wanted to share. And yet now I felt a sense of betrayal. A sense of talking about things I shouldn’t. A sense of attention seeking.
And I wasn’t comfortable with that.
Should I delete it? Archive it maybe?
No, I decided, the real problem was not the post, it was the third hashtag. That was the real vulnerability. So I deleted the offending hashtag, reposted, and turned back out the light.
I still couldn’t sleep.
You see 6 and a half years ago I became a mummy, and like all new parents, started the steepest learning curve I would ever begin.But when you become a parent to a child with additional needs like I did, your whole world shifts.
The last 6 years have been a massive test for me and our family.
Because when your child needs counselling and reassurance just to put socks on in the mornings (and I say this with no sarcasm or humour), and the wrong word or flippant remark can send their anxiety spiralling into night terrors and stomach cramps, you have to learn a new level of compassion, patience and consciousness, a hard skin to people’s looks, and a total lack of embarrassment at whatever a trip out in public might throw at you, which did not come easily to me.
Because quite frankly people think they know what ADHD and Autism means but most people don’t. And so I’ve long wanted to talk about it publicly and raise awareness, but I haven’t because I’ve been too scared.
Scared of the people who tell me I shouldn’t have labelled my child. The ones who say, “Oh why are so many children being diagnosed with this now?” as if it’s something that’s just been invented rather than just being understood. Tired of the ones who say, “Oh my daughter has meltdowns/ doesn’t like brushing her teeth/ gets anxious too.” Scared of looking like I’m seeking attention or sympathy, or making a mountain over a molehill when there’s so much other bigger stuff happening right now.
But mainly I’ve wanted to protect my daughter, keep it secret so she isn’t judged or given stigma from a world that’s largely ignorant and totally wrong about people whose brains are wired differently.
And so I deleted the hashtag #ADHDawareness from my post last night.
But I still couldn’t sleep.
And so when I still couldn’t sleep I had to really go within and ask myself why?
And I realised that posting that now deleted hashtag had been a brave first step for me. And what I had been suffering from (and given in to) was a vulnerability hangover.
Because I don’t want my daughter to have to hide and pretend to fit in. I don’t want her to grow up in a world that’s already not set up for her, but also doesn’t understand her.
And so I need to be brave and stop doing what other people ‘think is best for her’. And do what I know to be best for her. And start talking about it. Normalising it.
So I edited my post again and added #ADHDawareness and felt good about it this time.
And this is what I learned last night:
When you’re getting vulnerable online and you have a nagging feeling that you shouldn’t be sharing something, don’t just ignore it and not post or post anyway, listen to it, and ask yourself why?
Is it because you’re pushing boundaries? Or is it because you’re stepping over an invisible line? Or maybe you’re showing up more “look at me,” than “learn from me”?
Question it, and then decide what’s brave and true?
I realised that communicating consciously means examining your motivations, being really present and honest with yourself, and then acting in alignment with that.
Now my membership is called Fearless Content for a reason. Because showing up in the fullest expression of you. No hiding. No pretending. Can feel scary. And that post reminded me of that. And reminded me that there is always further we can push. There is always another level of courageous when it comes to your communications whether that’s talking about parenting, additional needs, or another thing that I’ve had to be courageous about sharing on, which for me was my spirituality.
So that’s my message today. Your resistance to getting vulnerable. Or your icky feeling after you have. What is it really about? What is the motivation behind sharing something a little bit more revealing. Because mostly it’s not about attention seeking. It’s not about look at me. And very often it’s about giving voice to something others aren’t talking about. It’s about allowing people to learn from you.
Which is why very often the message we most need to share is the hardest one.
I’m going to be talking more about this inside The Content Download facebook group this week. I would love to hear your thoughts on this. On vulnerability. On the things you really wish you were talking about in your content, or are feeling called to talking about, but aren’t.
TCD is a free pop up community over on fb where I am hanging out right now to connect with you guys and dive deeper into what we are talking on the show. You can find us by following the link the in the show notes or by searching #thecontentdownload on facebook. I would love to welcome you on the inside.
So that’s it for today. Staying with this theme, next week on the show I’m going to be sharing with you 4 questions that you can ask before getting personal in your content, so you can get vulnerable, safe in the knowledge that it’s something you should be sharing.
Thanks so much for listening. Lots of love from me.